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PUBLIC HEALTH

Outbreak at Accura has killed 12

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A dozen residents at Accura HealthCare of Carroll who have been infected by the coronavirus have died, the company said Friday.

“We take the responsibility of protecting our residents and staff very seriously and pray for an end to this pandemic and its harmful impact on our communities,” according to a written statement the company provided to the Carroll Times Herald. “The facility has been following all screening and testing guidelines and is working closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health.”

Accura is one of four long-term care facilities for older residents in Carroll County that has had a confirmed outbreak of the virus. Over the course of the pandemic, 47 residents have been infected there along with 18 employees.

Accura said last week it was unsure when vaccinations would begin at the facility. Those are being administered by Walgreens, which has declined to reveal specifics of their vaccination programs.

Deaths from the virus reported in Carroll County total 32, which was an increase of one over the past week.

Accura did not specify when the deaths at its Carroll facility happened, and the state is significantly delayed in its reporting because the information must now pass through a federal agency before it’s made publicly available.

Carroll County is expected to receive an additional 100 doses of a coronavirus vaccine this week as it gets closer to vaccinating all of the county’s healthcare providers, according to Nicole Schwering, the county’s public health director.

There are a little more than 1,000 healthcare providers in the county, and about 800 doses have been doled out since Dec. 22. Those who are inoculated need a second dose — which is typically given four weeks after the first — for the vaccine to be fully effective.

County health officials are getting shipments of a vaccine made by Moderna. A vaccine made by Pfizer is being distributed to Walgreens.

Schwering said it could be several weeks before vaccinations begin for “frontline essential workers,” which include police officers, firefighters, manufacturing workers, teachers, daycare workers and others.

A total of 2,485 county residents have had confirmed coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic. The rate of infection has slightly increased in the past week, with about 170 new cases in the previous two weeks.

That is still less than half of what the infection rate was in November before local and statewide mask mandates went into effect.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced last week that the statewide mandate would continue until at least Feb. 6.

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